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Striborg: The Embittered Darkness / Isles De Morts

Striborg is a one-man black metal outfit, and the alter-ego of one Sin Nanna. Sunn O)) once complimented Sin Nanna with a track named for him - and if you're familiar with Sunn O)), you might consider that to be a dubious compliment.

This is two albums in one. Isles De Morts is a re-release of a piece released in 1997 under the name Kathaaria, while The Embittered Darkness is new - and very different.

The overwhelming sound here is a deeply distorted guitar with monstrous reverb held way back in the mix, creating an almost ambient backing to the vocals - which are a pure evil guttural high-pitched growl with no discernable lyrics and sounding like something you'd expect to hear in the next Harry Potter movie. Interestingly, there's no bass guitar - the rhythm is held by that fuzzy thing that loosely resembles a guitar, and those insistent drums.

Besides the vocals, there's not much clarity in any of the instrumentation - it's all drowned in fuzz and echo in a sort of drone, with industrial-sounding drums breaking through the bottom. It makes My Dying Bride sound clean and upbeat by comparison.

Almost all of the songs sound identical. Drop the needle in the middle of any song and with the exceptions of "Race Of Apathy", "In The Eerie Pre-Dawn Silence Of The Cold" and "Intro", they are all exactly the same. The song titles are weird too. What does he mean by "Wrapped in a Cocoon out of Harm's Way" - which is one of the two 10-minute pieces, or "Landscapes of Mist Cast Across the Steel of Cold" or opening and closing tracks "Protagonist of Misanthropic Virtues" and "Misanthropic Isolation"?

There's no technical skill here, nothing clever, progressive in any way, or even particularly moody. A monotonous gloom replaces mood, a dissonant hissing fuzz replaces instrumentation, and drone replaces melody.

Production? There ain't none - at least, not in the normally accepted sense. It's clearly home-made, although the newer tracks are streets ahead of the old - which are just awful in all respects. Sin Nanna would have done better to release just the newer album as an EP, and left the older ones on the shelf where they belong.

Drone rock fans may enjoy this. True black metal fans probably won't.

Track Listing:
1. Protagonist Of Misanthropic Virtues
2. Wrapped In A Cocoon Out Of Harm's Way
3. Race Of Apathy
4. In The Eerie Pre-Dawn Silence Of The Cold
5. Embittered Darkness
6. Digging A Ditch To Die In
7. Intro
8. Through The Veils Of Darkness
9. Descending From The Blackened Sky
10.Holding The Throne Of Night
11.The Day For My Kingdom To Rule
12.The Cold Slumber That Awaits Me
13.Return Of The Dark Lord
14.Landscapes Of Mist Cast Across The Steel Of Cold
15.In Darkness...
16.Mist

Added: November 10th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Score:
Related Link: Displeased Records' Web Site
Hits: 1582
Language: english

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